1.12.2009

Making A Stand

For some time after we first moved here - and, let's be honest, it's an ongoing thing - David and I had a little "thing" for the kiosks on the streets. There's something nostalgic about it, I think - brings back memories of the missionary-on-the-street days.

Kiosks haven't changed a whole lot in thirteen years except maybe to become more permanent in their temporary look. They are mostly still little booths with faded samples of what they sell stuck to the inside of the windows and a little window where you knock to ask for what you want. One change is that there are now glass-doored refrigerators set up outside the kiosks where you can pull out your own cold (yes!) soda, once you pay and the clerk pushes a button to unlock the refrigerator.

It's a lot easier to run around the corner to an outdoor kiosk for a snack than it is to tackle the supermarket. Kiosks are like 7-11 meets a lemonade stand. You can get sodas, chocolate, crackers, chips, cookies and other sweet treats there. Snickers were the main thing back in the day, but now you can get Twix and M&Ms and Orbit gum as well. There's also hot coffee and cigarettes by the stick and a pretty good alcoholic beverage selection (for as much as I know about alcoholic beverages).

I knew we had stopped at kiosks a few too many times when, not too long after we arrived, Henry kept asking if he could play "little stand." I could not figure out what he had in mind until he went ahead and started playing it at the kitchen table:



His is actually a pretty good assembly and representation of what and how a kiosk sells their stuff.

Some funny things to know about kiosks:

Even if it looks like they have a perfectly good bottle of juice right there and you have perfectly good money to pay for it, they will not sell it to you if it is the only one they have. It's their display model. So don't even ask.

Also, they might have a lot of display models of things that they haven't had in stock for weeks, months, years. But it looks good in the window.

If they don't have exact change to give you, you will get a one-serving pack of coffee or a dusty piece of candy or a single cigarette for change.

If you don't know how to say what you want in Russian or Ukrainian, just say it in English with a Russian accent and they'll totally know what it is. Example: Twix is "Tveeks."

Lots of specialty kiosks and stands have popped up as entrepreneurial spirit has increased. A lot of the women who used to just sell hot piroszhky out of a bag lined with a blanket and a sheet of plastic (for insulation) on the street now have a little kiosk from which to sell their potato pies. (Pure deliciousness.)

But my favorite stand ever is the one that just established itself in the breezeway of our nearest supermarket...

It is a CORN stand.

Not popcorn. Corn. Kernels by the cup. And you can have any of the following toppings added to it, just like you might order an ice cream sundae:

melted butter
chili sauce (like the Asian Sriracha stuff)
caramel
balsamic vinegar
sunflower oil
mayonnaise
smetana (sour cream)
dijon mustard
ketchup (not entirely like ours)

I did't notice in my exit whether there were also sprinkles, like onions, tomatoes and pecans or something that can also be added. I was in a hurry that day and haven't been back to try it out. I'll take a picture when I do.

But a corn stand. Is that not awesome? The only thing that would make it more exciting to me is if they used Olathe Sweet corn instead of canned. But the ingenuity gets two thumbs up from me. Which topping would you try?

6 comments:

Aimee said...

We have corn-n-a-cup stands too!!! I find them a bit too pricey here so I haven't indulged. Actually, I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone buy corn. Oh, and I'm laughing at the "speak english with a Russian accent and they will understand." I did that all the time in Japan (since I didn't speak Japanese) and it totally worked.

MommyJ said...

I can eat anything with melted butter on it... so I'd be all about the butter. But seriously, it sells nothing but corn? That's amazing.

Sir Nottaguy-Imadad said...

Speak English with a Russian accent and they will know what you want. That completely cracks me up. Getting coffe, candy or cigarettes as change is a hoot too.

Theresa said...

If I'm going to have corn, it must have melted butter. Extra even if they would sell it to me!

The idea of getting some product instead of change is hysterical to my oh-so-American mind!

Carolyn said...

Great post! Lot's of similarity with the Balkans... only they will sell you the diplay item. =)

Bunsy said...

Your Henry sounds fun. I wish my kids would play "stand" with me.